by Tony R
In today’s post 9/11 world our freedoms are even more curtailed as our online activities are being monitored and our online communications are being stored by such agencies as the NSA to potentially be used against us. As well, individuals are giving away their information to any social media outlet that asks them. Databases are increasingly storing our private information and will continue to for the foreseeable future as individuals freely give up their private information at the click of a mouse today.
Post 9/11 had a country in panic that swiftly took measures to hopefully prevent such an attack from ever happening again with the creation of the infamous NSA program which had oversight along with the Patriot Act to prevent terrorist attacks against the U.S. by monitoring any conversation it deemed had terrorist ties or was possibly planning future attacks, with no judicial oversight. Since then “False Positive” or mistakes as you and I would see it have happened. Abuses in the NSA have even had employees spying on their wives, husbands, and aquaintenance with swift action being taken to minimize the blowback against the NSA.
Since Snowden has come out with his leak of U.S. spying on foreign countries and heads of state the once clandestine organization has come out to say that they are only after the bad guys and no one has anything to worry about as long as they are not up to terrorist activity. The president has confirmed that this technology is needed and will continue to be used to protect our nation from possible attacks, so be assured with all the media attention on Snowden and some calling him a whistle blower, it will blow over in the following months.
The NSA isn’t the only database that can potentially spy on us. Another big name with the information of millions of people is Face book. People voluntary store information about their “Likes” on Facebook. This database can be accessed by about anybody with an IP address, and information about individuals can be gathered. Information such as, name, date of birth, city, state, and photos can be gathered by unsuspecting users on Facebook. Phony accounts are being created with your likeness on Facebook to access your friends contact information as they see your picture and add you not knowing that it isn’t’ you.
Not only can your information be used by reputable companies to sell you products you don’t need but criminal elements can use your information to steal your identity as your name, birthday, and location can be given, if security settings are not in place. Criminals have been known to rob homes when people are posting vacation pictures on their Facebook page.
And this trend is continuing, with just about every website compiling information on you in the form of mandatory information forms at registration or requesting you to log in by using your Facebook account,. This information can be sold to other companies to attempt to sell you products or for the purpose of spamming you. The thing to note is that it is happening more often and with more websites participating our privacy is being reduced. And with reputable companies being breached your information is being compromised to nefarious outlets with harmful intentions.
There is no way to avoid this fait other than to not use the internet or today’s technology. This is the way of today and the foreseeable future all you can do is be aware of it and take precautions not to be overly exploited and compromise yourself. Minimizing your exposure might help prevent trouble as criminals are becoming more tech savvy each day and your personal information can be used for personal profit at your expense.
Big Brother isn’t the only one you need to be aware of that is watching you as the web has made it possible for everyone to watch everyone. A lot of these database technologies are making life easier for us and more manageable but others have created some possible problems. There is no real reason to fear the internet as long as you take measures not to provide sensitive information that can be used to steal your identity or compromising photos that a potential employer might be able to view and use to reject your application for employment.
With all the benefits of our new found technology there are inevitable drawbacks to it as the internet with its databases are not good or bad but all dependent on how people use them. The potential for abuse is there as all new technologies can be used for good or bad. We must take personal responsibility with our information and with what we want to expose about ourselves, once it’s out there it is very difficult to get rid of this unwanted information.
NEWSWEEK COVER: Spying on your calls; after 9/11 administration eager to provide any tools necessary to security agencies to combat terrorism; NSA requested permission to collect information on U.S. citizens; senior official: NSA used vast databases to help identify suspects; may have been subjected to electronic eavesdropping. (2006, May 14). PR Newswire. Retrieved from
Outcry over NSA overblown. (2014, Jan 12). Telegram & Gazette. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1476538680?accountid=10357
This week online. (2006, Oct 02). Newsweek, 148, 4. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/214264484?accountid=10357